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TD’s Sign Up To Lansdowne Rd Agreement

dail_chamber1Following a meeting of Cabinet in Leinster House, it has been decided that new first time elected members of Dáil Éireann will sign up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, under the provisions of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) acts, necessarily introduced in 2009 and imposed on public servants.

In a public statement issued by Cabinet on Thursday last, the government stated that it did not wish to be seen by the general public as acting unfairly in any future dealings, in particular with Secondary School Teachers, who share less holiday time, and the drastically reduced membership of An Garda Síochána, latter who put their lives on the line protecting Irish TD’s from death threats for a mere €23,500 per annum. Readers will be aware for the most part that both these said groups are refusing to participate in this aforementioned agreement.

To this end, as and from July 1st 2016 some 52 new Teachtaí Dála (TD’s) elected to the Lower House of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament – Dáil Éireann), for the first time, following the General Election held on February 26th last, will now be subjected to a considerable reductions in both pay and expenses.

New first time elected TD’s will now only receive approximately €46,000 in salary during the life time of this present government, instead of their €87,258 salary as is the present case. The perk of granting new mobile phones; purchased to the maximum cost of €750 in any 18-month period, and previously allowed to all new TD’s; has also been removed.

In relation to mileage expenses, those residing 15.5 miles from Dáil Éireann will also no longer receive the customary untaxed €25,295 extra for turning up to work on their average of 3 days or less each week, regardless.

A full list of all Parliamentary Standard Allowances (PSA’s) will be published on the Houses of the Oireachtas Website later this coming week, with similar reductions expected to affect Seanad Éireann, latter the Upper House of the Oireachtas .

Water Conservation
Meanwhile the Minister for the Environment is understood to be looking into the possibility of running an educational campaign to encourage water conservation in the home.

According to the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, flushing toilets accounts for around 25% of Irish people’s waters usage, with a standard toilet using 1.8 gallons of water or more per flush.

The Minister is now suggesting that people should take their first pee of the day, while taking their morning shower. Such practise would see around 0.880 gallons of water only leave your shower head in the 22 seconds it takes for a human being to finish peeing; unless you possibly have been ‘on the p..s’ the night previously. Regardless this practise, if encouraged in every home, would lead to considerably less water wastage than used with a standard toilet flush.

Good news also for those of you who insist on wiping after peeing in the toilet; a huge saving can also be made in the weekly purchase of toilet rolls. With an average of 400 squares of paper currently found on most toilet rolls, peeing in the shower would in fact eradicate the wastage of up to 5 squares per roll on any standard wipe.

The Health Service Executive (HSE), are also supporting this initiative, based on the proven fact that hard-working household servants in Victorian times steeped their feet in urine, to ensure relaxed, soft, flexible foot skin.

Meanwhile strong opposition is expected to these proposed regulations from Irish Supermarkets and the manufactures of foot care products, including foot orthotics and insoles; both claiming hundreds of jobs will be lost to industry if these new rules come into force.

OK – If you believe the above, you would believe anything. However the solution given to those tired, callused and toughened areas of skin on your feet is absolutely true. Try steeping your feet in your urine for 15 minutes every night and after a week note the massive difference to your ‘trotters’.

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Additional Funding For Challenging Health Sector

LowryIndependent TD Michael Lowry has welcomed the recent added financial investment in the Irish health sector, and in particular the €40m announced for home care services. Same investment comes as part of an extra €500 million funding which has been added to our already overall Health Service Budget nationally for 2016, by Minister for Health Mr Simon Harris.

However Lowry warned, “Despite this new welcome allocation, serious challenges still continue to remain within the service, with demands for home help and home care packages continuing to grow.”
In particular Lowry pointed out, “Patients who are medically ready for hospital discharge continue to remain waiting in much needed hospital beds, due to our inability to access and put in place home supports.”

“More access to home supports”, stated Lowry, “could see patients living at home; instead of remaining in long-term residential care, should these appropriate services be made more readily available. This said problems are also arising in the number of older people already in receipt of home care, who have been identified as not receiving the number of help hours needed.

It is readily acknowledged that many more patients could be at home”, continued Lowry, “where they themselves want to be; where their families want them to be; and where Government policy says they should be. However we are simply not providing these necessary homecare supports and this present situation goes completely against Governmental stated objectives of caring for individuals within our communities.

In particular over the past number of years Health Care in its entirety across Tipperary has faced utter devastation through serious financial cuts, e.g. South Tipp General Hospital, Our Lady’s hospital Cashel, Dean Maxwell Roscrea, Mount Sion Tipperary, the effects of which can only be described as terrifying and a gross burden on our most vulnerable. To this end I will now be seeking an assurance from Minister Harris that a fair share of this much needed new funding will be made available to Co. Tipperary.

This new investment in our community care services is indeed a most positive development, however we now need to put in place a system that provides for more appropriate homecare services and packages. This will enable many more of our citizens to return to live in their own homes under a more tailored care plan, which in turn will be one step closer to solving our current hospital overcrowding”, concluded Lowry.

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Govt To Freeze Bin Charges

Waste

Waste Operators showing Telephone No’s and E-mail Addresses who offer services in Co. Tipperary.

Various reports today claim that new rules, recently introduced by former Tipperary Labour Minister Alan Kelly, on new bin charge legislation are set to be frozen, as the present Government investigate massive price hikes in the industry and as yet unsubstantiated claims of companies operating cartels, (Cartel – An association of  suppliers coming together with their sole purpose to maintain prices at a high level, thus restricting competition).

Claims made today appear to confirm that  the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Mr Simon Coveney is all set to freeze the charges in his bid to give his department yet more time to further examine these earlier allegations.

Mr  Coveney met with Waste Management companies in Athlone on Friday last, to further discuss plans to implement pay by weight charges, which were set to come into effect from July 1st 2016 next.

Meanwhile the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is also set to examine this pricing controversy after numerous consumers complained they had received notifications indicating massive price hikes of between 200% and 300% introduced as a result of these new regulations.

With just 12 days to go; as yet no notifications have been received from some 10 registered waste collection agencies, operating within Thurles and Co. Tipperary, as to any new or future pricing regulations. One suspects that these agencies were hoping that if details were left too late then everybody would simply accept the inevitable and lie down; as is a previous attitude, thankfully changing here in Ireland.

Already we are aware of people using public litter bins in our town’s streets, daily, to dispose of their basic household waste. Soon, if this system is not satisfactorily regulated, forgotten rural areas will experience a new kind of tourism; as visitors arrive to dump waste product in our lanes and hedgerows.

With regard to these newly introduced pay-by-weight bin charges and customers using waste and recycling service; one must ask the following questions?
(1) Do we weigh the waste product ourselves, agreeing scales readings prior to collection?
(2) Do we wait patiently beside our waste bins for our chosen collection service to call, before agreeing and signing for the actual weight being charged?
(3) Do we simply accept the weight recorded by our collection service agency as being gospel truth?
(4) Will invoices detailing actual waste weight be pushed through our letter boxes on each collection date?

Minister Coveney is understood to be meeting with waste companies again early next week and one hopes that the proposed system and the various service agencies will be forced to become more transparent in their dealings.

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National Broadband Strategy Needs Urgent Implementation

Mid West

Independent TD Michael Lowry has called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Mr Denis Naughten, to urgently advance the Government’s National Broadband Plan for County Tipperary.

Currently there exists over 41,000 properties across Tipperary without broadband and of these over 8,000 are businesses of varying sizes, each attempting to compete in the wider market place. Larger towns like Clonmel, Thurles, Nenagh, Tipperary Town and Templemore are well served by commercial operators; however other smaller towns and villages right across Tipperary require immediate intervention by the government.

Deputy Lowry recently contacted Minister Naughten; highlighting that “a key element for rural development must be to invest in infrastructure in areas outside of our main towns and cities. The absence of high speed broadband is a significant issue in attracting foreign direct or other investment to rural areas, thus obstructing all future job creation in Tipperary”.  Lowry further insisted that “the State now fast-track the necessary capital funding into the Broadband process to expedite the roll-out schedule and guarantee rural broadband to 100% of Tipperary homes and businesses.”

The Independent TD continued, “The Government must review its current time-line on Broadband issues and stop referring to it as anything other than what it actually is, a basic and essential utility. Lack of Broadband is threatening the very growth capacity of entire local economies, particularly in Co. Tipperary. Broadband has become a critical factor to 21st century business life, and rural businesses rightfully feel abandoned and unable to compete, while city based businesses continue to thrive.
This same digital divide now places rural Ireland at a massive disadvantage and is not just failing individuals and businesses in their ability to communicate, but is also affecting students in our educational system to adequately engage in their intellectual pursuits; much of which now depends on having access to basic Internet facilities.
Obviously the lack of basic Broadband accessibility is only one of the many areas that need to be scrutinised in an effort to stop the everyday curse of migration, emigration and unemployment. These factors are draining rural areas of their very livelihood. However, with rural Ireland lacking critical 21st century infrastructure in providing 21st century opportunities, rural dwellers will continue to flee in favour of greater prospects elsewhere.
Business, whatever its size is the very lifeblood of every economy and if entrepreneurship is to be encouraged to set up in rural Ireland, access to Broadband is now essential if we are to work, grow and fairly compete,” concluded Deputy Lowry.

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Urgent Constructive Debate On Rural Ireland

Lowry calls on 32nd Dáil to engage in urgent constructive debate on rural Ireland

Independent TD Michael Lowry has called for an immediate, focused and balanced debate by all elected TD’s, with regard to planning a future for rural Ireland. Commenting on recent radical proposals for Ireland’s development by Mr John Moran (Former Secretary-General at the Department of Finance), Deputy Lowry stated that he disagreed with many of the views expressed by Mr Moran, with regard to his future vision for rural Ireland.

Tipp

Using the comparative example of Ireland versus France; Mr Moran had declared that France was “pulling back services from less efficient parts of their country and encouraging those areas to develop a different business model.”

“How can rural Ireland attract a ‘different business model’, when such areas have been totally stripped of infrastructure and investment, with little attempt at supporting regional development. To advance a ‘different business model’ would entail a modern rural road network as part of other required infrastructure. Mr Moran appears to be unaware that the National Roads Fund decreased from €608 million in 2008 to a current figure of €294 million in 2015. In 2011 Tipperary received €45 million for roads. In 2016 this had fallen to €25 million. Also in 2015 some €439 million was made available to the semi-State utility Irish Water; taken from motor tax payment and local property tax.”

Deputy Lowry continued: “The IDA must immediately begin to invest in advance industrial infrastructure in places like Co. Tipperary; providing ready-to-go turnkey facilities with access to high-speed broadband being a priority. Neglect of infrastructure and investment in turn has had a domino effect in relation to the lack of job opportunities for a highly skilled and well educated workforce. The previous government and national agencies have done little or nothing to correct this current urban / rural imbalance. Young people are being forced to leave their homes, families and communities daily. Emigration has also had a massive impact on close local communities; particularly on sports clubs, who are suffering from decimation by the forced flight of its younger membership.

Back during the emergence of our Irish State; using our then fiscal capabilities, we established one industry after another. Ensuring not to make new developments simply localized affairs; we spread new factories as wide as possible throughout the State. This was done to avoid the problems of the over-centralization of industry; becoming part of a plan to make industry conform to the general well-being of rural areas. Same industries were predominantly placed in agricultural based areas, sharing in an industrial revival, offering work to those who otherwise would have departed via an emigrant ship. During this same period our Irish economy saw the net value of industrial products increased from over €18.25 million to over €28.25 million; while wages paid to production workers increased by €4.25 million and placed eighty thousand additional workers into steady regular employment.

Year after year, small shops, post offices and Garda Stations are shrinking. Fewer homes are being constructed, resulting in no work for builders and associated trades. Fewer children are being born; school numbers and teachers are reduced leading to inevitable school closures. The shortage of priests is leading to parishes becoming clustered with grave implications for church communities.

Urban centres must not forget that our valuable agricultural exports continue to emanate from a currently neglected rural Ireland” concluded Deputy Lowry

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